Northern Communication & Hear Say

Communication skills affect learning & social success

The ability to concentrate, listen and communicate well is crucial to learning and in every aspect of our lives, from the moment we are born.

It has a ripple effect. Even if your child has just a few mispronounced sounds, this can affect their ability to read, spell and write, as well as talking with their friends and family. Learning can be slow and confidence may be affected. A little help can make all the difference as to how quickly they progress academically and socially.

Introducing Sara Spurr, Speech Language Therapist and Educator
DipSpTh; AdvDipTchg; DipESSTN; DipClinHyp

I am a NZ trained speech language therapist and a registered school teacher. I have more than 30 years’ experience working with children in schools, special needs units and in speech therapy clinics. I am passionate about my work and love to see my clients gain confidence as they develop the skills to become better learners and more effective communicators.

Is it a phase my child will grow out of?

Childhood development is different for each child, so sometimes it is difficult to know whether there really is a problem. When you start to recognise that something isn’t quite right, it is also tempting to think that your child will “grow out of it”, and sometimes they do. However, if you are concerned, it is important to have your child assessed. Significant learning or communication difficulties need to be addressed promptly.

What to look for:

• your child’s speech sounds make it difficult to understand them
• your child’s language skills do not seem well-developed for their age
• your child loses concentration quickly, forgets instructions easily, doesn’t seem to listen, or "is in a world of their own”
• your child is struggling socially or academically
• your child is intelligent but some skill areas are not consistent with what you know they are capable of achieving
• your child’s strong accent is causing difficulty for them, even though they have a good command of English
• your child’s stutter is holding them back
• your child has reading and spelling difficulties

“When learning is enjoyable, the greatest gains will be made”

The assessments and therapy are designed to meet the specific needs and interests of your child. I seek to provide your child with a caring, friendly and positive session, which is both productive and fun.

It is important that your child feels comfortable, so I work at a pace where challenges are achievable.

Personalised sessions are usually given once a week and may include games, oral reading, using computer software programs, writing stories, role-playing and conversations. Homework is usually given but this is not designed to be time-consuming or a chore.

I provide comprehensive reports so that you can understand what is causing your child’s difficulties, the approach we are going to take, and the progress being made.

Parents often see their child quickly gain confidence and become much happier individuals as a result of having their communication or learning needs met. A rapid improvement at school both socially and academically is frequently reported.

Therapy locations

My clinic is in a park-like environment which includes plenty of bush and opportunities to spot the resident Barbary doves, rabbits and goldfish.

I do not have a waiting room because I aim to never keep my clients waiting! The clinic is a comfortable place filled with toys, books, games, and computers.

Because of the homely feel, children and adults comment that they find the environment a very positive one - sometimes it is so positive that the occasional child is reluctant to leave!

There is plenty of onsite parking and easy foot access from vehicles into the clinic. The clinic has its own toilet facilities.

If you are unable to come to the clinic, arrangements can be made for me to see your child at their school, learning centre or home.

If you think that your child may be underachieving, or wonder if they have a communication difficulty that is affecting their learning, you are welcome to ring on (09 427 5595) or email me at without obligation to discuss your concerns, before committing to an appointment.




Making a difference

Tanya Collett, Speech & Language Therapist and Audiologist,
B Communication Pathology, Feuerstein Facilitator: Basic 1 and 2

As a qualified Speech/Language Therapist and Audiologist, I have been working with children for over 25 years in private practice and in partnership with the Ministry of Education.

I am experienced in working with people of all ages and with a variety of speech and communication disorders.

I understand that having any type of speech, language or auditory processing disorder will have a major impact on the life of your child. I want to be able to make a difference. This is why I endeavour to do my best to give you a comprehensive service at a reasonable price.

How can I help your child?

I am able to assist with children and young people who have difficulties with dyspraxia, articulation, phonology (i.e. trouble with organizing sounds), language, dysfluency (i.e. unable to produce smooth, fluent speech) and voice disorders. Using the Feuerstein Mediated Learning Method I help children to attain the thinking skills needed to approach their learning with greater success.

I can also help children with auditory processing disorders deal with phonemic awareness (i.e. identifying speech sounds) and aspects such as auditory memory, auditory figure ground discrimination (i.e. understanding speech in the presence of noise) and processing instructions.

Following a comprehensive assessment of your child, I create an individualised plan to target the specific areas that your child needs help with.

Sessions are relaxed, supportive, fun and rewarding, yet structured around achieving improvement.

I believe in making sessions motivating for your child through the use of technology, such as an ipad, along with traditional games and crafts so that your child stays engaged in learning new skills and is rewarded for working towards their goals.

Working on speech and language skills is a team effort of which you are a part. After each session I send you some goals to work towards at home with your child, reinforcing the skills that we have worked on that day.  I will also email you my notes on each session.

If requested, these reports can also be sent to any teachers or other adults that work with your child. This way, everyone involved understands the goals that we are aiming for with your child and is kept up to date with the progress that is being made.


I have a warm, inviting home office space to work from, which may help your child to feel relaxed at sessions. However, if you prefer it, I can meet your child at their school or learning centre if you find it hard to fit in another afterschool activity.

I am happy to chat with you about your concerns so please feel free to give me a call on (09 421 1337)